Old engine secures repeat 'Rings' display for Te Papa

Te Papa has bumped a New Zealand art exhibition aside to make way for a money-spinning Lord of the Rings repeat in a deal secured with a highly unusual payment.

Filmmaker and aviation enthusiast Peter Jackson agreed to a second six-month exhibition on the condition the Museum of New Zealand located and bought for him a vintage Sopwith Camel airplane engine.

Te Papa spokesman Peter Brewer said a deal on an engine found somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere should be settled by Christmas.

The engine cost "a fraction of the amount" the museum would otherwise have had to pay Jackson in licensing fees, he said.

It is understood Te Papa paid trilogy backers New Line Cinemas up to $500,000 for the first Rings exhibition in 2003. The studio had since signed over the licensing rights to Jackson.

Mr Brewer said Jackson would give the engine to a new aviation and business park at Omaka Aerodrome, near Blenheim.

A replica 1930s Curtiss Helldiver plane built for Jackson's King Kong movie would also be used as part of a static display at the park.

"It's an unusual request in lieu of the licensing fee."

Meanwhile, a Toi Te Papa: art of the nation exhibition which was to have opened in February to coincide with the New Zealand Arts Festival had been shelved for eight months to make way for the Rings display, which will run from April until October.

- NZPA

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